Archive for 2012

Convergence in Hell’s Kitchen

It was six years ago that I met a man out in a bar in Brooklyn Heights, New York. He drew me into a question for the patrons, while I was ordering a round of drinks. I answered and that was the beginning of one of many conversations. It would have been an entirely ordinary way to have met if I hadn’t been there with my grandmother, celebrating her 85th birthday, whom later that night taught him the fox trot. We were all out until the morning light crept in over the Heights and it was time to go back to Chicago. It was a chance meeting that would mark the pivot of our becomingness.

But we would both have to wait almost five years before he would see me one evening, from the back of a cab, entering Regents Park. I wasn’t there in the park then, but he did indeed manage to find me, once again. With perhaps some help from the Gods and credit to ourselves, we didn’t hold back.  I was finally ready to let this someone, brilliantly beautiful, in.

After nearly seven months of writing and reading love letters from my side of Chicago, a trip to London on Randy Ave, rambling across the green heaths and moorlands of The Peak District admist Bronze Age stone formations, and tuning into a deep comforting voice across the ocean that could only be my best friend; I now find myself in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, smiling and playing frisbee in Central Park, in a convergence that is our sui generis.

Here, in our living room, is where some of our art comes together: A Dempsy vs. Firpo, possibly the best fight of the first half of the 20th century, Apsaroke Indians, Waiting For the Signal, Henry Miller on his bicycle, Hunter S. Thompson smoking on the beach, a Leroy Neiman polaroid art copy of a painting of Vegas ladies, Prada in Marfa Texas, a three dimensional Roman Colosseum, Frazier, Ali, Liston and Patterson, a photo of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a preserved Exile on Main St.album, more American Indians in canoes off the coast of Washington State during sundown, my family’s saloon on the mudded streets of Broadway, St. Louis, a cobbler shop in the Netherlands and a Parisian bicyclist, images of rural Illinois meets the suburbs, an unleashing of butterflies from a man’s chest, flecks of gold and Free Air, all mingling with us.

From here, who knows what we will find together to add to our collection or where we will find ourselves in love. What I do know, is that I’m with someone that I can find beauty, art, and truth in everyday life with. And at the end of the day, here’s where we both become further encouraged.

More images of the art and design elements of this work in progress….

The Deco frame sofa was finished as I was loading the truck for New York and I had one word for it once I saw it–badass. It was upholstered with three fabrics that I had been saving for three different upholstering projects, which I decided to use all together in making this one piece for our apartment.  I enjoy the labyrinth black and white graphic against the warm stripes. The glass beaded, copper end table is also an upholstered piece that holds a brass lamp from my late grandfather; similar tailored silk shades flank the sofa. Reflections of the copper beads, brass, glass and dashes of gold play up the room and call for many candle lit evenings.


Hush, Violet Hours and Patience

Hush is the name of the color that cloaks the walls, mixed with metallic silver at the top of it’s arched neck, shimmering as it meets the ceiling. I have been working with this client over the past couple years and the project continues to be a work in progress, all for the love of vintage finds, a violet palate, and sweet patience.

Together, we have carefully restored an Art Deco rosewood and walnut dresser, ebonized a sleek lingerie chest, revived a vintage, Murano, leaf chandelier, and created a master bath, which has become the quiet respite every hardworking woman deserves. One of the adored pieces found for the bathroom is an antique painted armoire from Italy, which has been repurposed to store bath towels and robes, fashioned with lock and key.

Lush velvet textiles were selected for seated stools and beige and lavender pillows by Kevin O’Brien Studio, accessorize the sculptural club chairs upholstered in champagne silk. In the master bedroom metal accents were re-platted in a brushed nickel, adding to the hush cooling effect.

Sometimes it can be best to allow progress in a space to come about slowly. By allowing yourself to feel out where you are, you grant yourself the time and the hours to decide what is truly meaningful.

Here is more of Hush, Violet Hours.

Design Advice: Kids Sharing a Bedroom

In this month’s Time Out Chicago, writer, Martina Sheehan, asked Bedrooms by Brynne for additional design advice on how kids can share a bedroom more fluidly. Here are a few ideas and sources, that I shared with Martina and the readers, on how to share: Time Out Article

My key tip is finding a project that the kids can collaborate on. Such as recreating, in DIY fashion, a beaded chandelier in the style of Marjorie Skouras’s Annabelle chandelier. After all, problem solving with others helps us to create a stronger bond. A project that the kids can tackle with one another is the perfect way to empower them both individually and together, when creating a shared space.

As for the parents, maybe you would want an authentic Marjorie Skouras‘s chandelier for your own private reverie. Be sure to see the gorgeous black onyx and emerald green stone fixture. Now wouldn’t that be lovely to wake up to in the morning.

Ladies and Gentleman, Eyes Up Here Please

Bradley Lincoln wrote a lovely piece on Bedrooms by Brynne and one of my projects in his column, Domestica, this week for Chicago Home and Garden. This image depicts a Morris Lapidus mirror salvaged from the Eden Roc hotel in Miami, a baby daisy, Marbro lamp, and Savvy wall paint from Colori. Thank you Brad for the Bedded Bliss!

Full Domestica article.


Make up your life!

This blushy peach photo from Moschino’s Cheap and Chic, Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, at London’s Fashion Week, makes me smile. A simple yet bold statement that is such a great reminder for living life. A reminder to let go of anything holding you back, trust your intuition and continue to blaze your own damn trail.

How to Seduce a Long-Lost Love

You have to taste it to believe it. Later this month Rick Bayless stars in a new type of role for a Lookingglass Theatre production, entitled, Cascabel. Many people have been seduced by Rick’s passion for Mexican food, either from watching Mexico:One Plate at a Time or from one of his cook books like  Fiesta at Rick’sor have had the privilege of eating at one of his many restaurants, such as Xoco, Frontera GrillTopolobampo or, while at O’hare airport, Tortas Frontera. Because if you have, you would certainly remember the mole.

I had the pleasure of working with Rick, styling his 1940′s wardrobe and set props for Chicago Magazine’s feature on him, covering Cascabel. Listen, I don’t get overly excited about working with celebrities but I do when I work with certain exceptional chefs. Not all celebrities are down for dangling from a chandelier made up of pots and pans. And I have to love the fact that he practices yoga too. That’s right, note to all the men out there, men that do yoga or even try it once–very sexy.

Cascabel is a Mexican boarding house in the 1940′s. Rick plays a chef, called the Cook, who tries to seduce his long-lost-love by preparing food for her. She is a flamenco dancer and actress, only, she has no appetite. During the show, as Rick is cooking for her, the audience is tasting the food right along with her.  Oh yes, and there are acrobats and a tightrope-walking sous-chef.

Rick says in the article, beautifully, on this relationship with food: “It’s the kind of thing that food does so regularly in our lives, yet we don’t think much about it. It can tie us to a culture or a person; it can remind us of a place. Those are all memory centered. But food can also center us in the present and even open us up to the future. It can make us live in the moment and dream of what is next.”

Now, I’m seduced…. and quite hungry.

To read the full Chicago Magazine Article that I worked on and behind the scenes photos: check it out.